Britain will offer NATO a “major” deployment of troops, warships and combat aircraft in Europe, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday, who wants to respond to the rise of “the ‘Russian hostility’ towards Ukraine.
The proposal, which is expected to be made at a meeting of NATO military chiefs next week, could see London double the British contingent of some 1,150 soldiers currently deployed in Eastern Europe and provide “defensive weapons” to Estonia, according to the Prime Minister’s office.
“This set of measures would send a clear message to the Kremlin – we will not tolerate their destabilizing activity, and we will always stand with our NATO allies in the face of Russian hostility,” he said in a statement. press release released Saturday evening.
“I have instructed our armed forces to prepare to deploy troops to Europe next week, so as to be able to provide ground, air and naval support to our NATO allies,” stressed Boris Johnson.
If Russian President Vladimir Putin were to choose the path of ‘bloodshed and destruction’ in Ukraine, it would be a tragedy for all of Europe,” he added. Ukraine must remain free to choose its own future.”
Boris Johnson, who has been under intense political pressure for several weeks after a series of scandals linked to parties in Downing Street during the confinements, said on Friday that he would call Vladimir Putin in the coming days to urge him to “step back “and engage more in the diplomatic channel about Ukraine.
The head of the British government must also make a trip to the region in the coming days.
Relations between Russia and the West have reached their lowest point since the Cold War.
– “Making support” British –
Russia has deployed tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine’s borders in recent months, raising fears of an invasion. While the Russian government denies any such plans, it insists on written guarantees for Russia’s security, including the promise that Ukraine will not join NATO.
British diplomacy must announce Monday in Parliament a toughening of its sanctions regime to allow the United Kingdom, accused of turning a blind eye to the influx of Russian funds on its soil, to target strategic and financial interests of Moscow.
The planned deployment of warships, fighter planes and ground troops will strengthen NATO defenses and “consolidate the United Kingdom’s support for its Nordic and Baltic partners”, according to the services of the Prime Minister. Minister.
Some 900 British soldiers are already deployed in Estonia and around 100 are in Ukraine, as part of a training mission which began in 2015.
Some 150 soldiers from a light armored unit are currently in Poland.
The aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, which is in the Arctic region, at the head of a NATO rapid intervention maritime detachment, is on alert, “in the event that the tension continues to rise” , said Downing Street.
On the diplomatic front, Foreign Minister Liz Truss and Defense Minister Ben Wallace are due to travel to Moscow for talks with their Russian counterparts in the coming days.
“They will work to improve relations with President Putin and encourage de-escalation,” according to Downing Street.